Where Everybody Knows Your Name – Donna Whiteford

Dear St. Charles Parish Family and Friends,

It is hard to believe it is the end of September and Fall is definitely here. I often look at each season as both an ending and a beginning – bringing not only new weather and activities but new opportunities.  So this got me to thinking about something Fr. Bill said last Sunday before he made the announcements at the end of Mass – about wanting St. Charles to be a faith community where someone knows your name.

Fr. Bill has spoken about how this difficult time we are living through presents us with an opportunity to “re-imagine or re-found” St. Charles. I’ll admit I was confused when he first said this but after a few conversations I understand that he means that this time is an opportunity for us, the St. Charles faith community, to ensure that the parish is reflective of who we, the parishioners, are today, and who we want to be; that it offers all of us both the spiritual and social programs we want and need to nurture our faith and our sense of community; and importantly, is a place where someone does know not just our name but, who we are.

As I read recently in The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr, OFM, Fr. Rohr believes we sometimes focus too much on Jesus the messenger and not enough on the message Jesus came to spread. That message to me is not just about attending Mass on Sunday, but asks each of us to participate fully in the life of our church and community and to be an active part of that community, again where we know each other’s names.

How can each of us achieve that full and active participation? I’m hoping that each of you will prayerfully consider how you might become more active in helping St. Charles as we move forward, each in the way most appropriate to your life and family situation. If asked if you can volunteer, please consider what you might be able to do. And even though we are social distancing during these times, don’t forgot to say hello and ask someone you don’t know their name when you are at church. Or ask others in the parish what it means to volunteer at St. Charles.

As it says this Sunday in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Can you volunteer to help with the food pantry, the Family Faith Program, serve as an Usher so we can hold additional Sunday Masses or serve in another of our lay ministries? We welcome all to volunteer and help the parish, regardless of whether you have one hour or ten to contribute. And we welcome all your thoughts on growing our parish spiritual and social offerings.

Jesus, through the apostles, created a community of active and participative believers. Our parish needs each of us if we are to carry on that tradition today.

Your sister in Christ,

Donna Whiteford